SmartPlanet: Q&A with Shai Reshef, President, University of the People

SmartPlanet

Q&A: Shai Reshef, president, University of the People

| September 10, 2012

College tuition is rising faster than most people can keep up, especially those in developing countries. Enter the University of the People, touted as the first tuition-free, online university. With only a one-time application fee and a $100 fee for final exams, students can earn Associate or Bachelor degrees in business administration and computer science for less than the cost of a single course in more traditional settings.

In a recent chat, I asked founder Shai Reshef about his commitment to nonprofit education and the institution’s long-term sustainability plan. Below are excerpts from our interview.

What’s the mission of the University of the People?

The University of the People is the first ever nonprofit, tuition-free, online university dedicated to bringing democracy to higher education. There are millions of people around the world who are deprived from higher education. Unesco stated that in 2025, close to 100 million students will not have seats in existing universities. Others are deprived of education for cultural reasons. Women in Africa would be an example. For all of these people unable to attend higher education, we created the University of the People to deliver knowledge and enable them to study online.

Read full interview